When winter arrives, it places extra demands on both the driver and the vehicle itself. It’s vital that you prepare for the onset of the winter months by taking a few simple steps. You must ensure that any equipment required to deal with frost and snow is on hand before the need to use it arises. Checking your antifreeze is the first step.
Many people are under the impression that this is something you only need to add in winter; but antifreeze is simply a part of the coolant that circulates in the engine all year round.
You should ensure that you keep this topped up; but if you haven’t had the car fully serviced for a while, you may also need to check that the fluid is still doing its job. Over time, it can become dirty with particles and lose its efficiency. You can check this using simple equipment obtainable from motoring accessory shops. If your anti-freeze isn’t up to strength, or you’re in doubt about its effectiveness, then you may need to flush the cooling system through and replace with fresh fluid.
Carrying out this kind of work may not be for everyone, so a simpler solution would be to take your car to a garage and ask them to carry out a winter driving check for you.
You can certainly expect to be using your windscreen washers more frequently during bad weather; and because of this it’s important to ensure that you keep the reservoir topped up. It’s always worthwhile carrying a plastic bottle in the boot filled with water and a suitable additive ready for this purpose. However most places now sell ready mixed solutions that you can just pour straight in.
An additive is essential for two reasons, firstly it increases the cleaning power and will remove dirt from the screen that water alone wouldn’t touch, and much more importantly, it will prevent the water from freezing in cold weather. It’s against the law to drive your vehicle if the washers are frozen.
You should only use an additive recommended specifically for this job. The anti-freeze you put into the cooling system is different; do not put this into the windscreen washer reservoir.